Jewish Values: Jean Laffite: The Pirate Who Saved America.

Number of Pages: 
48 p.
An illustrated biography tells the story of Jean Laffite [also spelled Lafitte], the Jewish pirate who helped the Americans win the battle of New Orleans against the British in 1815. From numerous sources, including Laffite’s journal, Rubin distilled various facts (and legends) to write an engrossing and fast-paced account of Laffite’s life. According to Rubin, Laffite’s Jewish identity influenced his activities; however, this biography touches only lightly on his Jewishness. Rubin describes Laffite’s Sephardic background and early education as the youngest of eight children growing up in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Laffite was fascinated by his oldest brother’s exploits as a privateer, and by the age of sixteen began voyaging (and pirating) on the seas. Laffite’s life was morally ambiguous, a fact that Rubin enlarges upon in the author’s note at the end of the book: Although he was an American hero and patriot who was praised for his “courage and fidelity”, he profited from the sale of slaves he had “rescued” from Spanish slave ships.
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